Fashion Week

Meet the first woman with Down’s Syndrome to model at New York Fashion Week

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Anna Pollitt

UPDATE: Jamie did it in a knock-out black pleated shirt dress with slick up do and statement red lips.

A US actress is set to become the first woman with Down's Syndrome to model at New York Fashion Week.

Jamie Brewer, who stars in American Horror Story, will turn model for designer Carrie Hammer's show this afternoon - on the first day of NYFW.

Brewer, who will walk in an original design by Hammer, told Today: "Young girls and even young women … [see me] and say ‘hey, if she can do it so can I.'" 

"It’s a true inspiration being a role model for any young women to [encourage them] in being who they are and showing who they are."

The 30-year-old is a longtime advocate for people with intellectual disabilities and successfully lobbied the Texas government to pass a law to abolish using the word "retarded" in state legislation, as well as to improve recognition of the needs of Texans with disabilities. 

And Hammer is no stranger to creating pioneering runway moments. She debuted at New York Fashion Week last February using a model in a wheelchair - another first for NYFW - in her Role Models Not Runway Models show.

Jamie Brewer runway

"I don’t think emerging designers are featuring 'real women' because as a new designer you want to do everything you can to look like the big guys," she told The Guardian.

"For there to be big change it has to start from the top and trickle down to the emerging brands. My overall goal is for fashion to empower women and not demoralise them through negative and sometimes false imagery. It’s so important to me that young women are looking up to role models not runway models."

Hammer designed Brewer's dress with American Horror Story in mind. The critically acclaimed US showeries, which also stars Emma Roberts, Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates, takes place in various spooky settings with the same cast members playing different roles each series.

Jamie Brewer

Jamie Brewer in American Horror Story

"American Horror Story is dark, scary, bewitching so we had to go with black and Jamie has a beautiful body with a teeny waist and curves and we went with an A-line," Hammer said of Brewer's runway dress, which the designer hopes will one day be worn by Michelle Obama.

"It’s amazing, it’s really neat," Brewer added. "Many women have many sides to their personality, this dress fits...mine. I am honoured to be in it."

Words: Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features

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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant. The baby is borrowed.

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